Philippine Education has gone through an evolution year after year as product of the challenges and circumstances that we are faced with. From the philosophy that education should make us “civilized” so we can actually lead our own government during the American to Commonwealth Period, our leaders have seen the importance of education in nation building, liberating our countrymen from poverty and in promoting social justice. They too have recognized that education is everyone’s right and thus, it should be provided by the government.
Our history has been a witness to the continuous pursuit of our country to improve the system of our education in order to address the demands of the time, and yet, again and again, we have seen the failure of the several reforms caused by budget constraints, political sabotage, corruption and moral degradation of the people handling educational institutions and agencies.
When we look deeper, the answer to these problems is education itself. When a good education is provided to the Filipino youth, we can produce future morally upright leaders who do not entertain corruption and who can manage our resources well and thus, gain respect of the people and fellow leaders…
My personal philosophy of Philippine Education can be best discussed in the word E-D-U-C-A-T-I-O-N.
Education should Empower a Filipino Youth. Based on the concept of Pragmatism that “what works is what is true,” as early as grade school age, Filipino youth should be provided learning experiences that will help them understand the importance of acquiring skills in accordance with their future careers. For example, instead of just asking the children to write for their theme writing in English and Filipino subjects, teachers should explain that a good writing skill is needed when you apply for a job someday and that in order for a business to prosper, there should be a well-written business plan.
Education should Develop the innate potentials of a Filipino Youth. God has given us respective talents and potentials which should be further developed through education. As what Existentialism promotes, an individual gives meaning to the world. A student who discovers that he/she is good say in arts would better appreciate arts subject and its meaning. Because it is not only through lecture that he/she learns about the subject matter, but it is through making of outputs like painting, dancing, singing, acting, and the likes.
Education should Unite the nation and bridge the disparity of the social classes. In relevance with Socialism, a man lives with his/her community and thus, education should provide an avenue for a learner/student to impact change to the community he/she belongs. This is very evident now with the Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS) in college. But I guess, social consciousness should start again in grade school where students should be taught about their roles in the community. For Science, instead of just discussing how plants grow, the children can have a field trip in a nearby farm for active participation learning.
Education should Cultivate moral values as education without character is meaningless. There should be a constant integration of values across all subjects across all levels. Psychology dictates us that each student has unique learning needs and thus, if a student is equipped with moral values, he/she can show respect to fellow students which can allow better classroom discussion and open learning among the students and even with the teacher. There should be a set of moral values from the central office of the Department of Education which will be cascaded to the different public schools nationwide. Each school should be guided with its own mission and vision. There are several private schools which the Dep-Ed can benchmark with like that of Southville International School and Colleges which is dedicated to equipping their learners with the 5Cs-Competence, Character, Collaboration, Creativity and Commitment to Achieve. Another school, University of Perpetual Help is guided with their mission of “Character building is Nation Building.”
Education should Abolish social injustice. As what mentioned earlier, education should be made available not only to the rich but to everyone. This can be made possible despite of budget deficiencies through the government and private sector partnership. Perhaps, the government can mandate all private sectors to participate in the “Adopt a school Program” of the Department of Education whereas a private company should adopt at least one school as part of their corporate social responsibility project. We can also tap Mr. Ilac Daza who recently launched the use of “bottles and other scraps” in building classrooms. Moreover, the role of mass media especially the radio should be recognized. Radio dramas can help educate the Filipinos in far flung provinces. We can use storytelling radio drama style to incorporate lessons in Science, Math, English and other subjects.
Education should Teach lifelong skills. Realism dictates that reality is made up of natural laws. And it cannot be denied that the reality is that everyday, the industry changes and without us knowing, what might be the demand today will not be the demand tomorrow. Education should therefore make a student a holistic individual. He/she does not only know how to bake but also how to do electronic works. He/she might not land a job right away after graduation, but he/she can start a business. This is where elective classes in high school come in. I suggest that NSAT should be given at least four to three months prior to students taking entrance exams in universities so the result can guide them in a way. For Grade Six students, we can have a curriculum designed similar to the R.A. No. 7686 (Dual Training System Act of 1994). We can have an apprentice type of program whereas grade six students are provided opportunities to do practicum training of their “career dreams.” Children are very much driven to fulfil their dreams and with proper guidance from the educational institutions, they will be more inspired to pursue that dream. A student say who wants to be a journalist can have an apprentice work every Saturday in Manila Bulletin, Philippine Star, Inquirer or other newspapers. This program of course, requires partnership with the private sector.
Education should Initiate change. Idealism tells us that a glass is half full and not half empty. A student should be provided a training ground for leadership, business and laboratory and research works. There should always be a room for a child to discover something new and even implement programs for his/her classmates. Education should always allow a Filipino youth to question about life, the world and from there, initiate change even in their simple ways. Situational learning like playing a video of a documentary and letting children come up with possible solutions to the problem being presented can be taken into consideration.
Education should Overcome other social problems. A Filipino youth who has been educated well will be more productive compared to those who are not. A productive citizen contributes to a positive GDP growth of one’s country. It is therefore indispensable to strengthen the TESDA courses as this can be very much an alternative to college education especially to those who do not have the means of going to universities or colleges. The TESDA ladderized program which was launched under Arroyo administration is commendable. It should be made available then to everyone.
Education should Nurture the Filipino Culture, love for country and love for God. The Philippine education system should by all means promote the Filipino culture (our very own identity which makes us unique among other nations) anchored with the love of country (which gives us pride to use our talents for the Philippines) and with the love for God (which is the highest love of all and which strengthens the moral fiber of our nation so we can all move forward with joy in our hearts). As what Claro M. Recto said, “I am a Filipino, inheritor of a glorious past, hostage to the uncertain future” and it is through education that we can pass on to the next generation our “glorious past” and face the challenges of the “uncertain future.”
To end, education should:
Empower the Filipino Youth.
Develop one’s innate potentials.
Unite the nation.
Cultivate the moral values.
Abolish social injustice.
Teach life-long skills.
Overcome other social problems, and
Nurture the Filipino culture, love of country and love of God.
Elevezo, Aurelio and Elevezo, Rosita. Philosophy of Philippine Education Navotas, Metro Manila: National Bookstore, 1995.
Agoncillo, Teodoro. History of the Filipino People, Barangay Commonwealth Quezon City, Garotech Publishing, 1999
Lee-Chua, Queena, Ways of education , Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 16, 2007
*Written in 2010
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